Notes on Imposter Syndrome

3 min readJan 10, 2024

To me, Imposter Syndrome has always felt like that moment in a crowded room when an unfamiliar pair of hands bring themselves over your eyes and a voice from behind you says, “Guess who?” In the split second before you hear the voice, there’s this panic — this overwhelming apprehension you might feel — until the familiarity of the person envelops you, and you gain the foresight to take in whatever cues might exist — their scent, their voice, and the feel of their hands.

Imposter syndrome is both things —the panic, and the familiarity. Panic, because sometimes I feel like a forged painting on the wall of a museum, printed and stamped on canvas. I am scared that if anyone comes too close, they will notice the duplicitous nature of the brushstrokes and the faint smell of ink. Familiarity, because it’s a feeling I’ve felt for so long and have gotten used to as a result. I know where it stems from, and I am familiar with its triggers. I also know the right things to tell myself to lessen its debilitating effects on me.

And yet, I struggle.

I struggle because growth is a neverending process, and what made me feel like an imposter yesterday might not be the same today. When I was younger, I didn’t feel “artist” enough when I showed my paintings to people. Now, I don’t care. I like to think it is because I know they are good, but deep down, it is because visual art is no longer the altar, and there are new idols I pray to and sacrifice my sleep for, like writing and content creation, and career growth.

I struggle because every situation that has ever made me feel like an imposter was tiered in an upward fashion, and my life just began yesterday, so I’m at the bottom rung of the ladder. The only people I compare myself to are those climbing above me, and while you might agree with me that my comparisons may not be fair, my brain is my fiercest critique, and she doesn’t ask for résumés before making her assertions.

There are other things that make me struggle; things rooted in biologystudies show that women tend to suffer from imposter syndrome more than men — and things rooted in the amazing ability of the brain to focus on the little mistakes, like an overbearing mother. But I am learning to ignore the voices in my head, do things, and occupy spaces even when I don’t feel worthy enough. To Walk Worthy, like Eloghosa said.

It may always be a struggle because every time I write an article, post a piece of content, or talk about my career, I suffer. But the suffering only lasts until the moment it dawns on me that my actions are helping me get out of my own way and take the climb up that proverbial ladder. When the realization hits me, I turn to Imposter Syndrome with the most triumphant grin on my face, and she begrudgingly takes the scoreboard, wipes out my previous score, and updates it with a new one.

Something like this:

Imposter Syndrome: 0
Treasure: 1